TORONTO, May 1, 2013 /CNW/ - Outdated provincial regulations are needlessly limiting the number of apprenticeship opportunities available to trades workers, according to a report today from the C.D. Howe Institute. In "Access Denied: The Effect of Apprenticeship Restrictions in Skilled Trades," authors Robbie Brydon and Benjamin Dachis say that reforming those tight regulations is crucial to meeting demand for skilled workers.
Skilled trade workers - ranging from electricians to carpenters to welders - are a crucial component of the Canadian labour force. However, many employers report shortages of skilled workers in these occupations, note the authors.
"While federal and provincial governments have targeted many grant and tax credit programs to encourage workers to become apprentices, myriad provincial regulations limit how many apprentices firms may hire," said Benjamin Dachis. "This red tape is stymieing program efforts and limiting apprenticeship opportunities."
Provinces regulate whether workers must complete a certified apprenticeship to legally work in an occupation, the length of apprenticeship terms, and the rate at which firms may hire apprentices relative to the number of certified workers they employ, known as a journeyperson-apprentice ratio.
"The effect is to reduce the number of people who work in a trade," said Dachis. "Furthermore, the trades in provinces with the strictest journeyperson-apprentice ratios have lower levels of young workers and workers who manage to find work in these trades have higher incomes, suggesting that these regulations may be acting as barriers to entry."
Governments have set these regulations in order to protect workers and the general public by encouraging workers to gain the proper training in skilled trades. However, entry restrictions are not the best means by which to regulate the quality and safety of work, say the authors. Instead of regulating the rate of apprentice entry, governments should focus on regulating quality of work and safety standards.
"With recent moves by the federal government to encourage workers to enter the trades, it is now up to the provinces to eliminate antiquated regulations on apprenticeship," concluded Dachis.
SOURCE C.D. Howe Institute